When a balcony, deck, or porch collapses, the people standing on it can suffer devastating injuries like traumatic brain injury, fractured and crushed bones, paralysis, or death. These collapses are caused by many factors—exceeding weight limits, worn materials, and inadequate supports being a few. Sadly, many of these accidents are even more tragic because they are so preventable.
How Property Owners Can Prevent Collapsing Deck, Balcony, and Porch Accidents
Many decks and porches are made of wood that will deteriorate over time. In addition, all of these structures are exposed to the weather, which contributes to their deterioration. Routine inspections and maintenance are crucial to avoiding their collapse. Property owners should take the following preventative steps:
- Commercial, condo, and apartment rental owners should post the weight limits for their balconies and decks and enforce these important safety rules.
- All owners should regularly inspect the structure for missing, loose, or rusted nails and other fasteners and tighten or replace them as necessary.
- Inspections must include looking for signs of material deterioration, such as splinters, loose or cracked boards, or uneven steps, which could be a sign of other more serious safety issues.
- Railings and their supports should be checked for broken, missing, and loose parts. Be certain that the railings are high enough—a potential problem if a deck or porch is older.
- Checking the posts and footings for rotten wood is essential. Proper supports that are not decaying are crucial to preventing a tragic collapse of porches and decks.
- Keeping the deck, balcony, or porch clean and free of spills will prevent the normal deterioration process from happening more quickly.
- Hiring a professional inspector who is experienced in spotting deterioration of materials and other safety issues that could cause an accident may be helpful—especially for a rental or commercial property.
- Owners must recognize the lifespan of a deck, which is about 15 years, and replace it when maintenance and repair are not enough to keep it safe.
Did a property owner’s failure to follow these common sense safety measures cause you to suffer injuries in a deck, porch, or balcony collapse? You need to act quickly to not miss the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit against the responsible party for the compensation you are entitled to. Fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.